For anyone who does not know who Gabrielle Bernstein is, stop reading this and google her immediately. I promise you that will be the most valuable thing you take away from this entire post. Now that you’ve done that, you now know that Gabrielle Bernstein is a #1 NY Times best selling author, motivational speaker, life coach, spirit junkie, and all around badass Lady Boss. Her message is clear: Have faith, take risks, love yourself, and spread love wherever you go. Learning about Gabrielle about two years ago changed my life. Like, seriously changed my life. I was working long hours, feeling drained and depleted, was quite miserable to be around, and was truly just so unhappy. I knew there was more for me to accomplish both personally and professionally, but fear, doubt, and overall exhaustion were holding me back (sound familiar..?) When a friend of mine told me about Gabby, I immediately looked her up and started listening to her podcasts. I was instantly inspired and needed more. More inspiration, more wisdom, more affirmations, more, more, more! So, with a few clicks on Amazon Prime, I ordered her books and that is where my personal transformation began. I went from the tired, exhausted, miserable version of myself to the happy, inspired, motivated person I remembered I used to be. Fast forward two years and I am now HAPPY, truly to my core happy. I am successful and abundant in my life, both personally and professionally. I have more faith in myself than ever before and I have accomplished all of the goals I set for myself professionally within that two year time period. And it all started with Gabby.
When I first heard about the Spirit Junkie Masterclass last year, I knew I wanted to attend but unfortunately had another scheduling obligation that same weekend. When I heard about it again this year, I knew immediately I needed to be there and by the grace of God my schedule, for once, was actually free that same weekend! This is something I truly believe was a sign from the universe as anyone who knows me knows how busy my schedule can get. For anyone who is unfamiliar with what the Spirit Junkie Masterclass is, my hope is that by the end of this post you will not only know what it is, but maybe one day plan to attend yourself! In a brief synopsis, the Spirit Junkie Masterclass is a 2.5 day intensive training, led by Gabby herself, focused on helping people at various stages in their life overcome their fears and anxieties and learn ways to start leading a happier, healthier, more abundant life. The training is spiritually based and geared towards building your business, however, it also has a large self-exploration component attached to it. This unique style training is what makes it so very special. And before you roll your eyes at the “spiritually based” reference, know that while Gabby herself will reference “God”, she is not forcing religion down anyone’s throat. She welcomes all beliefs and ideologies but does speak to how belief in a power higher than yourself is needed, in her opinion, to lead a successful and happy life.
The Good: Well first off, it’s a training led by Gabby herself. So, you get to see her in the flesh, feel her energy, talk to her, and ask her questions directly. Additionally, someone as badass as Gabby has a pretty badass squad to follow. So, her guest speakers were not only her friends but mentors, business affiliates, and fellow badass lady bosses. The amount of information you receive is astounding. Topics such as fear in career, leadership, spiritual awakening, money, building a business, blogging, writing a book, marketing, networking, meditation, and abundance are just a few of the topics discussed throughout the training. I could go on and on, but after taking about 100 pages of notes, I think it’s safe to say this list gives you a good idea of what is covered. You are surrounded by creative, ambitious, and energetic people all weekend and you leave feeling like you just won the lottery with the amount of information you receive. You also leave with some pretty awesome Spirit Junkie goodie bags, too! At the beginning of the training, Gabby references that you will come into the training hoping to learn or focus on one thing, but leave with so much more. She also highlights that you will likely leave with something you did not even expect to receive. Per usual, Gabby was right.
The Bad: While there is nothing bad I can really say about a training as amazing as this, I will note that a training like this can be costly. It truly is an investment in your future and is priced as such. I’ll be honest and say that when I was punching in the credit card numbers, only half looking, I was thinking to myself, “What the hell am I doing?” However, after I completed the training I realized the amount of information I received was invaluable. My recommendation would be that if any of you future spirit junkies think this may be a training you wish to attend, start putting aside some money now so you do not not feel so overwhelmed when the time comes to sign up. I’ll also say that if this specific training isn’t your cup of tea, remember that an investment in you is an investment in your future. Spending money on books, other kinds of trainings, coaches, therapists, workshops, etc. all to further your knowledge, education, or wellbeing are never a waste and will make a huge impact in the long run.
The Ugly: Ah yes, the ugly. And yes, there is some ugliness to this amazing, spiritual, kumbuya training. Remember when I said this training is unique in it’s ability to focus on business building while also focusing on self-exploration? Well, sometimes self-exploration ain’t so pretty. Now, as a therapist, I have not only done a ton of self-exploration on myself but also support others in this process as well as I understand the value it holds. However, for someone who has never been through this process or perhaps even avoids this process, the idea of self-exploration can seem scary and intimidating. This is largely true of those who have a trauma history. I will admit, when I realized this would be a big piece of the training I was a bit skeptical. Clearly from what you have read so far it’s evident I think Gabby is a goddess, however, she is not a therapist who is clinically trained. This is typically the type of work one does in therapy, with a professional for support. Digging deep and getting to the root of our fears and negative thoughts can truly be potentially emotionally dangerous. With that being said, Gabby goes about this in a very safe and appropriate way. She informs the group immediately that this is a piece of the training and that emotional dysregulation can happen. She set up a “zen den” at the venue where anyone could go at any time if they felt triggered, with supports waiting to help if needed. Additionally, she had a trained professional on speed dial if needed and also stressed more than once that this is work one should continue to do in therapy, with a trained professional. Never once does she assume this role as her own or encourage others to take on this role with their own clients. If you are reading this and are thinking this may be too much for you, be mindful of that and be honest with yourself. There were a lot of personal stories shared by those in the training and some of those stories were intense and difficult to listen to. A lot of tears were shed all around. However, there were also a lot of hugs, words of encouragement, and support. My professional opinion is that this is not enough for someone to decide not to go to the training. I do think it is important for people to know ahead of time so they can do the proper work on themselves in advance to prepare for this. The reality is, this is the type of work that does need to be done for one to meet their full potential, whether personally or professionally or both.
If you are reading this post, or if you subscribe to Alexandria’s blog, it is likely that the idea of entrepreneurship, happiness, abundance, or financial freedom all resinate with you. A fun fact I learned from the training is that in 2016, 69% of the billionaires were self-made. 60 of those billionaires were under the age of 40, and the youngest self-made billionaire in 2016 was just 24 years old. Proof that we are living in an age where entrepreneurship and self-made businesses are taking off and age is nothing but a number. If you are feeling how I was feeling 2 years ago, stuck, unhappy, and wanting more but not knowing where to start, buy one of Gabby’s books and start there. Or, listen to one of her free podcasts. Have an open mind, be inspired, start dreaming, make a vision board, surround yourself with like minded people, find a mentor, and don’t hold back. Gabby recommends if you have a lot of ideas, pick one and solely focus on it for 90 days. So, there is your starting point. I guarantee by this time next year, you’ll be converted to a spirit junkie and on a path to greatness yourself.
Sarah Marandi-Steeves, LCSW, PLLC
About Sarah: Sarah is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who has a thriving private practice which focuses on children, families, and adults based out of Poughkeepsie, NY. Sarah also provides consults for therapists looking to begin their private practices as well as supervision for therapists looking to earn their clinical hours. Sarah also writes for marriage.com. Learn more about her services at smsteeves.com.